Hello and welcome to the 48th issue of this regular Sunday email. In the week that marks the anniversary of the first UK death from coronavirus, we also see the beginning of the journey out of lockdown and a route back to normality. The government’s roadmap is understandably cautious, but it’s achievable if we all play our part. By the early summer we could be free to run ordinary lives again if all goes well.
I hope you find this email’s contents interesting and informative. As usual, do get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.
The week’s Covid statistics
• There have been more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of Covid in the UK. Yesterday 6,040 cases were confirmed. The number of new cases of Covid fell by 34% compared to the previous week.
• 4,775,355 Covid tests were conducted last week.
• 826 people were admitted to hospital on a daily basis (6,013 in the week). Those figures are 29% down on the previous week. The number of Covid patients in hospital dropped again, week on week,
to a new low of 10.898 (14,808 last week).
• The R number – which takes into account cases, hospitalisations and deaths – is now between 0.7 and 0.9.
• 21,796, 278 people have now had a first dose vaccination. And the number of second doses administered now exceeds 1 million.
• Yesterday 158 UK deaths were reported. There were 1,542 in the seven-day period to Saturday. Deaths from Covid have fallen by 34% in a week.
• The total number of UK deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test now stands at over 124,400. Worldwide, the number of deaths is now over 2.58 million.
The Roadmap out of Lockdown
Tomorrow, 8 March, is the first day on which the government’s roadmap will begin to be activated. We will be finally on the long, slow route to the easing of lockdown and there’ll be no diversions as long as everyone respects and follows the rules as the restrictions are eased. Here’s a reminder of what can change from tomorrow:
• All schools and colleges will reopen. University students can return for practical courses. There will be a review by the end of the Easter holidays for all other students.
• Face coverings are recommended in class for secondary school students (and possibly teachers) and also for parents and staff in primary schools.
• Wraparound childcare can also return for vulnerable pupils and where it is needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care.
• Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include "a coffee on a bench".
• One nominated person can visit care homes, but will need PPE, a lateral flow test and minimise physical contact.
• Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances.
From tomorrow, the Stay at Home restriction will continue but it will be amended so that people can leave home for recreation as well as exercise outdoors – with their own household, support or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. Social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed.
Details of the complete roadmap are shown in the attachment.
Be warned! We are still in lockdown
The Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council has issued a reminder to the public that the government’s roadmap provides a slow and cautious route back to normality…it is not a licence to immediately do what we like. Richard Flinton said: “Two days of nice spring weather last weekend saw some truly awful behaviour by some people interpreting the roadmap not as something to aspire to, but a route to drive down now. The number of fines the county’s police issued to people breaching the lockdown rules rocketed by almost a third. A record 255 fines were issued in the county, 119 to local residents and 136 to visitors. Of those, 127 were issued on the coast. In one incident each of the 20 people attending a house party was handed an £800 fine! And a group of six people from Leeds travelled to the coast for fish and chips, whilst some people travelled from Hull to Filey for a barbecue in a car park. And I am sure many of us felt complete disbelief at the pictures of the couple and a baby camped precariously on the cliff edge near Port Mulgrave.
“I am sure you will agree all of these examples are completely unacceptable and they put in jeopardy the incredible hard work the vast majority of the people of North Yorkshire have put in. So, to be clear to all those flouting the rules and risking our route out, we remain in lockdown. Stay at Home is still the message – the gradual and cautious easing of some restrictions is not an instant free for all. We want desperately to see the data allow us to hit those date milestones so we can welcome the world back to North Yorkshire’s fantastic hospitality sector and see our loved ones again. But the situation remains delicate, so I implore you to do the right thing for your friends and family and keep going, keep sticking to the rules.”
Research shows reduction in new cases is slowing
The rate of decline in England’s Covid cases has slowed, figures suggest. Health experts have therefore urged people to abide by restrictions in order to give the vaccination rollout “the best chance of working”. One in every 213 people is still testing positive for Covid, the study found. The data suggests that in some parts of the country the rate of decline has plateaued and in places there are hints that rates are increasing. Researchers warned that if infection rates start to rise then people who are due to have their jab imminently may become infected. They said infection rates need to get as low as possible to give the vaccination programme the best chance of working. The study also suggested that some professions have had higher rates of infection than others during the national lockdown.
Progress with vaccination programme
Phase one of the vaccination programme aims to have everyone in priority groups 1 to 9 offered a jab before 15 April. That will be around 32 million people…and so far the programme is on schedule.
Already 22 million first dose jabs have been given, so only 10 million left to do in about four weeks. The government is confident it will meet the target.
Phase two – groups 10 to 12 – covers all adults aged between 18 and 49. Boris Johnson has pledged everyone in phase two will be offered a first dose by the end of July. Well before then most people in phase one will have been called for their second dose.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be offered higher priority in the vaccination programme but said prioritising people by age would “provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time” and the government confirmed it would follow that advice. The committee’s chairman said: “Vaccinations stop people from dying and the current strategy is to prioritise those who are more likely to have severe outcomes and die from Covid. The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age. The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure.”
Positive attitudes towards vaccination
Office for National Statistics figures published last week show nearly 95% of adults surveyed between February 17 and 21 reported they had now either received the vaccine or would be very or fairly likely to have it if offered. This is up from 91% the previous week and has risen from early December 2020 when only 78% of adults indicated they would be likely to accept the vaccine if offered it. Of the adults who said they would be unlikely to have the vaccine or had decided not to have it, the most common reasons were being worried about long-term impacts on their health (43%), being concerned about the side effects (37%) and waiting to see how well it worked (34%).
Lateral flow test: Community Collect
Lateral flow tests are available to households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles. These groups can test themselves twice every week at home. Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary, secondary and college staff can also be tested. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, such as bus drivers and after school club leaders.
In order to support wider access to routine lateral flow testing, the government has introduced a new component of the community testing programme called Community Collect. This is a service by which people will be able to collect batches of test kits from designated sites to use to test at home twice a week. Here in North Yorkshire all local test sites have dual testing functions – in the mornings up until 12 noon they will continue to be symptomatic testing facilities, whereas in the afternoons from 1.30pm to 7pm they will instead function as collection points for lateral flow kits. For people in these groups who are unable to access rapid testing through Community Collect or any other existing route (such as through their employers) there is a new government portal for requesting lateral flow tests that can be delivered to your home. It’s understood that as the national roadmap proceeds, access to Community Collect sites will be broadened to include wider cohorts of people and more collection sites will be developed, with a national ambition to deliver through pharmacies as well by the end of March.
Book a coronavirus test locally
Every day sites operate 8am to 8pm. The full list of other sites operating in North Yorkshire can be viewed on the county council’s website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test
• Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
• Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. To book a test visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-testing
In memory of Dot
Asenby has a new teak two-seater bench for residents to use. It has been installed by Mel Arkley in memory of his wife Dot who passed away in January. It’s also a thank you to Asenby residents who, Mel says, have been wonderful and kind to him following Dot’s death.
Last year Lyn Henderson of South Otterington joined her colleagues from the Blue Cross to clean away the litter on roadside verges between Topcliffe and Busby Stoop. Their amazing effort was featured in December’s Tattler newsletter. It would seem that litter-picking is addictive as Lyn and her two children, Ella and Josh,(see photo attached) have been out and about again picking up the rubbish that others thoughtlessly throw away. On Friday last the threesome managed to collect two large bags of rubbish from just a small area around the playing field and cemetery on Whin Lane, Topcliffe. What a brilliant job and a big thank you to them for caring about a village they don’t even live in!
The Tattler, due out this coming week, features another story about litter recently picked up from roadsides around the village. You have to wonder who the culprits are and why they think it is acceptable to drop their litter as they walk around or to throw it out their car windows?
Parish Council meetings
• Topcliffe Parish Council met via Zoom last Thursday (4 March). The minutes will be available on the village website – topcliffeparishcouncil There is a period of 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting set aside to receive questions and comments from members of the public.
• The next Asenby Parish Council meeting will be held online at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 March 2021. Residents wishing to join this meeting should email the clerk at asenbypc for log in details.
Local Government Reorganisation
Last October, two proposals were submitted to the Secretary of State for the reorganisation of local authority areas in North Yorkshire. There’s plenty to read about this subject on the internet. The consultation on the two proposals for the reorganisation of local government in North Yorkshire is now underway. It will last for eight weeks closing on 19 April 2021. You can express a view at https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/northyorkshire/
The election for our local Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on 6 May 2021. The Village Hall will act as the Polling Station in Topcliffe. Residents in Asenby will have to travel to Rainton Village Hall to cast their vote. Maybe that’s another good reason to apply for a postal vote? (see last week’s Sunday Email or go to the council’s website to find out how – https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/voting-elections/postal-voting
St Columba’s PCC will be holding the following services:
• Today, Sunday, 7 March at 6.30 pm, Evensong (Book of Common Prayer)
• Wednesday, 10 March at 7pm, Compline or Night Prayers, a short evening service (approx. 15 minutes) of prayers, readings and responses, providing a simple and
peaceful way to close the day.
• Wednesday, 17 March at 7pm, Compline
• Sunday, 21 March at 10.45 am, Matins (Book of Common Prayer)
• Wednesday, 24 March at 7pm, Compline
• Wednesday 31 March 7pm, Compline
It’s hoped that Rev Terry Dyer will conduct a service of Holy Communion for Easter, either on Saturday evening 3 April, or on Easter Sunday morning 4 April. The PCC continually assesses the Covid risks and it operates ‘track and trace’ arrangement. All the usual precautions apply – please bring a face covering with you – and we will provide hand sanitiser for use before and after each service. Most importantly, for everyone’s sake, if you have any suspicion you might have contracted Covid, please don’t join us on that particular occasion.
Topcliffe Post Office
From tomorrow 8 March the opening hours will revert to normal:
Shop – weekdays 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7 to 11.30am.
Post Office – weekdays 8.30am to 5pm and Saturday 8.30 to 11.30am.
Both closed on Sundays.
The Angel at Topcliffe – Happy Mother’s Day treat
Please see the attachment to this email for the fantastic Mother’s Day menu on offer from The Angel on 14 March. What a wonderful treat for all the mums out there!
The regular ‘Dine at Home’ takeaway service menu can be found on The Angel website. Take away times are Wednesday to Saturday, 4.30-8pm, with orders taken from 3.30pm, and Sundays 12-6pm, with orders taken from 11am. Call 01845 578000 to place an order or book a time slot in advance. Check out the details at www.theangelattopcliffe.co.uk
• Fish and Chips – The Fish & Chip van is in Topcliffe on Fridays between 5 and 7pm.
• The Elm Gallery – The gallery remains closed, though it looks forward to reopening on 12 April. In the meantime, Liz and Dave continue to promote items on the gallery’s Facebook page and website.
Collection of purchases at the gallery door can be arranged. More information can be found on their website at www.the-elm-gallery.co.uk and they can be contacted on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920.
• The Milk Churn Farm Shop – Until the lockdown restrictions end, the shop will close at 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Thursdays and Saturdays it will close at 1pm. Don’t forget
that the farm shop is operating a home delivery service to anyone in Topcliffe, Asenby or Cundall who is isolating. They are also making free deliveries to Dalton, Sessay and Husthwaite every Tuesday and
to Rainton, Dishforth and Ripon areas every Wednesday (£10 minimum order applies). Ring 01845 400446 to arrange a delivery. https://www.milkchurnfarmshop.co.uk/
• The Swan – The Swan is closed until further notice.
• Thirsk Garden Centre is open 10am to 4pm for all your gardening requirements. The coffee shop is closed. https://www.thirskgardencentre.co.uk/
• Recycling & green waste – Thursdays 11, 25 March, 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and 22 April.
• Refuse – Mondays 15, 29 March and 12 and 26 April
• Refuse – Mondays 8 and 22 March and Tuesday 6 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Monday 19 April.
• Garden waste – Thursdays 11 and 25 March and Friday 9 April (one day later than normal due to Bank Holiday) and Thursday 22 April.
Please note that the garden waste service is scheduled to start on 11 March – not 25 March as stated in last week’s email.
• Recycling – Monday 15 and Saturday 27 March (two days earlier than normal due to Bank Holiday) and 12 and 26 April.
Green waste will only be collected if you have paid the subscription for April 2021 to March 2022.
• A Hambleton licence for the year will cost £40 per bin. To subscribe or for further information please visit www.hambleton.gov.uk/newbins
• A licence from Harrogate will cost £41 per bin. To subscribe or for more information go to https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/garden-waste-subscription-service
That’s all for this week. Keep safe and remain well.